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Friday, April 18, 2003



Private Company Unveils Manned Spacecraft

SpaceShipOne.
SpaceShipOne.
Credit: Scaled Composites
Today we have something to report, that, although it does not directly affect Mars or terraforming, has far-reaching consequences for the future of space travel. After two years of secret development at a hangar at the Mojave Airport in California, Scaled Composites today unveiled a spacecraft capable of carrying three people to 62.5 miles up and launching again within two weeks. This represents a breakthrough of immense proportions.

The spacecraft is similar to the X-15. The White Knight launcher releases the spacecraft at a high altitude, which allows the SpaceShipOne to get to 100 kilometers high much easier. The company is expected to claim the X-Prize, which was designed to inspire competition between the private sector to achieve low cost, reusable space travel. After successful testing the company plans to promote space tourism.

The company's founder, Bert Rutan, is most famous for designing and launching the Voyager aircraft, which made the first nonstop, nonrefueled flight around the world in 1986.

(More info: Scaled Composites, Mercury News)


- posted by Brian @ 20:55 EST